What you need to know about the coronavirus right now
Europe becomes first region to cross 50 million cases
Europe became the first region worldwide to cross 50 million coronavirus cases on Monday, according to a Reuters tally, as the more contagious Delta variant spurred a record surge in daily new infections. The region is seeing a million new infections about every eight days and has reported nearly 1.3 million deaths since the pandemic began.
Europe remains one of the worst-affected regions worldwide and has reported 27% of global cases and 31% of global deaths. It took 194 days for Europe to go from 25 million to 50 million cases while the first 25 million cases were reported in 350 days, according to a Reuters tally. Russia, the worst-affected European country, is on the verge of crossing 6 million cases.
Olympic Village infection bubble already 'broken', health expert says
The so-called bubble to control COVID-19 infections at the Olympic Athlete's Village in Tokyo is already "broken" and poses a risk of spreading infections to the general populace, a prominent public health expert said on Tuesday.
Insufficient testing at the border and the impossibility of controlling people's movements mean that the Games could exacerbate the spread of the infectious Delta variant of the virus, said Kenji Shibuya, the former director of the Institute for Population Health at King's College London. New COVID-19 cases in Tokyo reached 1,410 on Saturday, a near six-month high, while the Games are due to start in just three days.
Australia's COVID-19 lockdowns expand
Two of Australia's six states were in lockdown on Tuesday as the COVID-19 Delta variant spread, with Victoria extending its lockdown for seven days and South Australia announcing a week long lockdown, while Sydney was in a five-week lockdown.
Australia's most populous state New South Wales (NSW), of which Sydney is the capital, is battling the largest COVID-19 outbreak, with total cases exceeding 1,400.
60% of people being admitted to UK hospitals are unvaccinated, adviser says
Britain's Chief Scientific Adviser Patrick Vallance said that 60% of people being admitted to hospital with COVID-19 are unvaccinated, correcting an earlier statement he made on Monday.
Vallance earlier said at a news conference with Prime Minister Boris Johnson that 60% of people being admitted to hospital with COVID-19 have had two doses of vaccine.
Intranasal vaccine aims to block virus at point of entry
An experimental intranasal COVID-19 vaccine now being tested for the first time in humans showed promising results in monkeys, researchers will report on Thursday at ASV 2021, the annual meeting of the American Society of Virology.
The protection provided to the primates by a single dose of the vaccine from Meissa Vaccines was equivalent to the protection provided by currently authorized vaccines, according to a news release from the company.
Like injected vaccines, the intranasal vaccine, which is administered via drops or spray into the nose, stimulates the body to produce antibodies that circulate in the blood. But the intranasal vaccine also stimulates production of antibodies on mucosal surfaces that line the airways, which is where the virus first makes contact and enters the body, the research team reported in a paper seen by Reuters and submitted for posting ahead of peer review on the bioRxiv preprint server.
Rising U.S. coronavirus cases fuel resurgence fears
Swiftly rising coronavirus cases across the United States and abroad fueled fears of a pandemic resurgence on Monday and sent shockwaves through stock markets as the highly contagious Delta variant appeared to be taking hold. Many of the new outbreaks were in parts of the country where COVID-19 vaccinations have lagged, prompting political leaders to ramp up pressure on reluctant Americans to get the inoculations.
The average number of daily new COVID-19 cases in the United States has tripled in the past 30 days, according to an analysis of Reuters data, climbing to 32,136 on Sunday. The average number of people hospitalized with COVID-19 has also risen 21% over the past 30 days to over 19,000, according to the same Reuters analysis.